Hey! Manchester presents Tallies
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Nostalgia: it’s a fickle beast, isn’t it? Everyone loves music that evokes a strong sense of days gone by, but stare through those rose-tinted glasses too long and you lose the magic of the present. With their brand new sophomore album, Patina, Toronto-based indie pop band Tallies have found a way to expertly walk that razor-thin tightrope, nodding to their favourite bands of the past while transforming their sound into something tight, bright, and undeniably fresh.
Tallies started in earnest when singer Sarah Cogan, guitarist Dylan Frankland, and drummer Cian O’Neill began collaborating in late 2017. A proto-version of the band began at Algonquin College, when Sarah met Dylan during a music engineering course that saw the two become lab partners. All throughout their career, they’ve dove into the bands that would influence their sound – the Sundays, the Smiths, Aztec Camera – all while adding their own signature elements; Sarah’s airy-yet-arresting vocals, Dylan’s stunning gossamer guitar work, Cian’s astronomic drumming.
They got down to business rather quickly, as in 2019, their debut self-titled album was released on Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada and Kanine Records in the United States. Solidifying the band’s stature as Canada’s leading dreampop scholars, its mix of upbeat pop hooks and heady, larger-than-life production won the band critical acclaim from the indie underground to the mainstream alike. They began work straight away on a second record, which would prove to be an even more life-affirming endeavour than their debut.
All albums are labours of love by definition of the term, but the recording of Patina was particularly challenging at points. In the throes of the pandemic, was torn between the pressures of writing a record in lockdown, and using all the extra time they had to polish and refine what they had already begun. It was during this process that Tallies began a working friendship with one of their musical heroes — Simon Raymonde, ex-Cocteau Twins bassist and founder of Bella Union, caught wind of Tallies and made it his mission to sign the band. Through transatlantic phone calls, Tallies were able to deeply connect with a member of one of their favourite bands; ‘a light at the end of the tunnel,’ explains Sarah.
In addition to its tight songwriting and composition, Patina’s lush soundscapes were produced by Graham Walsh of the stalwart art-rock band Holy Fuck (who has also helmed records by Alvvays, Metz and Bully). The album also features Grammy-nominated cellist Michael P. Olsen (Arcade Fire, Drake) and percussionist Peter Anderson (The Ocean Blue), who also contribute the levelling-up of Tallies’ sound. Another standout track, Wound Up Tight takes the group in a heavier direction than ever before. It’s true to their sound, but represents a step up, a conscious evolution.